Show time is 10:30 a.m., but the band has already started playing by 10:25. As I rush through the lobby and up the stairs of the King Cat Theater, past the concession stand and the merch table, the bass is thumping out a steady 4/4 beat.

The stage set is totally pro: a full drum kit behind transparent plastic baffling to the far left, a grand piano (probably with a digital keyboard, but it's hard to say) downstage next to the guitar and bass, Hammond organ with a synth on top upstage center, and a choir of 12 to the far right. The PA is topnotch. Though the band is surrounded by wedges and side fills, many of the musicians wear headphones and inner-ear monitors. Sixty dedicated lights hang from a rack, shining colored lights on the movie screen. Two big-screen TVs flank the proscenium, with video cameras installed just above the main seating area to shoot the show. The cameras follow the singer, a black man in a green suit, dancing around the downstage lectern like a dervish while trying to incite the sparse crowd to sing along.

"Raise up!" he sings. "Send your praise up!"

As the song ends, Grady is joined at center stage by a bottle-blond white woman who could be anywhere between 25 and 45 years old. She's wearing a tight shirt and holding a wireless microphone wrapped in a white handkerchief. As the band vamps behind her, she thanks the audience, which is filling out. "You could be anywhere in the world right now, but you're here," she says. "Just give the Lord a hand!"

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Welcome to All Nations Christian Center. It's half past 10:00 on a Sunday morning in Belltown, and the group that took over the King Cat Theater three months ago is performing one of its four weekly testaments to the glory of God almighty. The blond woman is Jodiann Schott, co-founder and senior pastor of ANCC, along with her husband Vince, whom we will meet shortly. Before we do, however, Jodiann has a quick sales pitch. Her new book of daily testimonials is hot off the presses and moving fast. "All soldiers used to pray before going off to war," she says, and Fight Right is a helpful guide for those of us who are in our own personal wars. Her book can change our thinking, and if we change our thinking, we can change the choices that we make. Because "it's all about the choices that you make." Copies are available for $10 at the merch table. And now, Jodiann declares, "we're gonna run our announcements."

The lights dim slightly as the big monitors project the TV commercial that clued me in to the existence of All Nations Christian Center in the first place. It's a typical regional spot, with stock Seattle graphics (Starbucks, Space Needle) and a canned rock score. A black SUV rolls up outside the King Cat and out steps Vince Schott, a young-looking man with big blue eyes, inhumanly white teeth, and a shock of salon-spiked, bleach-yellow hair. As the camera angle tilts to an "extreme," Schott tells the camera to come on down to the King Cat, where everyone is welcome, and where Jesus Christ can change your life. The message is that ANCC is a new kind of church--inclusive, youthful, and media-savvy--but Schott's voice makes it sound like an ad for a monster truck rally. Sunday, Sunday, SUNDAY! More commercials follow, offering come-ons for a ladies' book club, a kids' summer camp, and the weekly teen service, Ecclesia Youth Church, run by "The Rev," AKA Landon Schott, Vince and Jodiann's pinup-worthy son.

Next up is more music. Grady returns to the stage, leading the choir in another rousing gospel-rock number. ("Everybody dancin', everybody givin' it up!") He has a hard time getting the congregation to sing along. With the cameras rolling, he remains undaunted, addressing us as though we were all in it together. "You didn't know you were gonna have such a good time in church, did you? Welcome to All Nations Christian Center, the tightest party in town, y'all!" Still, the crowd response is a bit timid, so our MC pulls out all the stops. "Everybody dance," he cries, and shows us a step we can all do. "Some know it as the Electric Slide. Some call it the Achy Breaky. We call it the Holy Ghost Shuffle!" And with that, he wins the day; the bulk of the audience rocks back and forth, everyone standing, spilling into the aisles. Then the music shifts to a downtempo and Senior Pastor Vince Schott takes the mic.

With eyes turned downward, and hair ablaze, Schott enters pious. His radio-deep voice hangs low, murmuring praise and thanks while the band vamps on, quietly. Soon enough, his rap begins in earnest. He echoes his wife's sentiments, reminding us that every step is a choice. "There's dreams," he preaches. "There's books that haven't been written, businesses that haven't started, right here in this room. But there's been a hindrance, because you're not hooked up with Jesus Christ." A scattering of That's Rights and Amens answer, providing a cue for the senior pastor to look up and bear down on the crowd with the full intensity of his wide blue eyes and bright white smile. "Is it just me," he asks, "or is God Almighty in this place today?"

The congregation erupts with applause, and Schott is off like a shot. He explains that even though drugs and rock 'n' roll can impede your progress on the path of righteousness (admirably referencing both Kool and the Gang and "grunge," even as he does a pantomime of pot smoking), we shouldn't make the mistake of thinking that God doesn't want us to have fun. He paces the stage stiffly now, talking fast, and frequently ending his lines with Pentecostal epigrams like "help me, somebody," and "say it with me, somebody."

After singing the praises of his wife and family (married 24 years, five kids), Schott asks for five volunteers to join him onstage. The first man to come out of the crowd seems like a plant; he's youngish, white, dressed in a suit, and looks like he works there. He's soon joined by four others--two teenage white girls, a black man in his mid-30s, and a blind, middle-aged white woman. Schott moves down the line ("What did Jesus do for you, love?"), hearing about eating disorders, drug and alcohol addiction, family strain, and offering homilies to address each affliction in turn. ("The Greek word for witchcraft was 'pharmaceutical.' How many people need to be delivered from witchcraft? Shout!") When he comes to the second teenage girl, however, things take a turn for the biblical.

Standing barefoot in a T-shirt and jeans, the girl looks like an archetypal alt-rock waif, right down to the pixie haircut. All Jesus has given her is "the courage to stand through lots of trials and opposition." He got her a car when she needed one. When she needed a job, He made sure her old boss was on the phone. And when she needed money, Jesus took care of that, too. At the mention of money, Vince Schott lights up like a dedicated spotlight. He asks five people to come up and give the girl some money. He says it like he's asking you to give her a hug. "Just give her some money, that's all." Twenty people come up and lavish her with more bills than she can hold. An assistant comes over with a white paper bucket to collect the spillage. She's crying with joy. Then Schott steps up and lays hands on her, sending her backwards, where more assistants are waiting to catch her ecstatic body and drape it with a purple blanket.

Now that money has been introduced as a sacred subject, the service has found its central theme, which Schott will hammer on for the remainder of his sermon. All Nations Christian Center, he announces, only recently opened at the King Cat Theater. Only about 400 people have passed through its doors up to now. "I feel a real burden to have churches in the inner city," the pastor explains. "And y'all ain't paying the bills yet. Help me, somebody." Running a ministry is important work, Schott explains. But, he's quick to point out, this isn't just about him and his church. It's not even about his good friend in the front row, who raises millions of dollars to help lead Muslims to Jesus. No. This is about all of us. We all need money, and God wants us to have it. "God has called you to have money," Schott preaches. "Say, 'Bless me, give me bank!'"

And here, at long last, is where the magic happens. Here is the moment when the Christian pastor turns the congregation's desire for cash into a collective passion to give cash away. The people in the crowd today don't seem particularly desperate, but a quick scan around the room reveals a general look of, if not poverty, then certainly not wealth. All this talk of money from Jesus has the audience standing at attention; many seem eager to hear the secrets of the prosperity their religion has been promising them all their Christian lives. They're bringing the faith, now how's about that bank? Schott is here to tell them: There's only one way, say it with me. "How many of you feel like God has called you to be a millionaire?" Loud applause. "Good." He waits a beat. "We're gonna need your money."

Vince Schott flips his bible open to Malachi, chapter three, verse eight, which brings us to the matter of tithing, "a financial covenant with the lord," which is generally understood to require the faithful to give 10 percent of their income to God, or, in the absence of God, the nearest Christian Center. Tithing is the most concrete sign of faith we can show, and true to His nature, God rewards our faith by paying us back, with interest. It's like a bank loan in reverse, and with better rates. The phrase Schott uses, several times, is "double for your trouble." He explains that he has raised $32 million in the past 17 years--a fact he attributes to tithing (his own and others')--and he means to keep the numbers up.

And despite what both Vince and Jodiann said earlier, tithing is not a matter of choice. "'But Pastor,'" says the pastor, "'I only made 50 bucks last week.' You owe God five. Five bucks. Say 'five bucks.'" FIVE BUCKS, screams the crowd. And then they line up to fill the white paper buckets with money. The band starts up again as Schott proclaims, "Double me, Jesus! Give to the lord."

The ushers move through the aisles with their buckets, and people drop cash, checks, and envelopes inside. On the back of the envelopes is the following disclaimer: "Thank you so much for your generous support of the ministries of All Nations Christian Center. While we endeavor to use all funds as designated, we reserve the right to use any and all funds at our discretion." When the white buckets are safely backstage, and the service is nearing the two-hour mark, Vince Schott shares the magic word with his eager flock. The word is "dominion." God's holy dominion over man. Man's submission to God's holy dominion. That is why we tithe. God has the power to remove kings and remake governments. His dominion can even effect regime change. "Saddam," Schott whispers, his eyes turned down, then intimates that God's dominion was responsible for the killing of Uday and Qusay Hussein. As the pastor fulminates, a low buzzing sound rises in the PA system. It's the bass guitar feeding back. The problem is quickly solved, and Schott continues. "I am a theologian," he says. "I have a master's degree in Bible." Then, by way of a brief, smiling aside, "Edit that out, Phil, when this goes around the world."

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On the one hand, it seems important to distinguish All Nations Christian Center from some of the other "new" churches in the burgeoning Seattle renaissance of faith. Outfits like Quest, Mars Hill, and Church of the Apostles are all employing unconventional methods of devotion, from punk rock shows to coffeehouse atmosphere, to attract younger devotees to Jesus.

By contrast to those new, unconventional churches, All Nations Christian Center is as traditional as baseball. Strip away the specifics--rock band, flat-screen TVs, hair products--and the church in the King Cat Theater seems more like an old-fashioned tent revival than newfangled worship. Tent revivals once peppered the South and Southeast, offering ol' time religion to as many true believers as could fit under a tarp. They were so popular that the region earned a nickname--the Bible belt--in their honor. By the mid-'60s, however, the tent-revival circuit was on the wane. Its twilight is documented brilliantly by the obscure 1972 film Marjoe, in which a prodigy of the revival biz invites a documentary crew behind the curtain.

At the age of four, Marjoe Gortner became "The World's Youngest Ordained Minister," preaching to congregations across the South under the tutelage of his parents (Mary and Joseph, naturally), and amassing a huge fortune along the way. By the time he was 30, however, Marjoe had become disillusioned with tent revivals, and the film was his way of outing himself and his contemporaries. Though his true motives for revealing trade secrets are a bit murky, Marjoe's story remains a riveting confessional. "The people who are out there don't see [the sermons] as entertainment," he told an interviewer after the film was released, "although that is, in fact, the way it is. These people don't go to movies; they don't go to bars and drink; they don't go to rock-and-roll concerts--but everyone has to have an emotional release. So they go to revivals and they dance around and talk in tongues. It's socially approved and that is their escape. It was my duty to give them the best show possible."

The show I saw at the King Cat Theater wasn't so different than the show I saw Marjoe Gortner perform on film. Schott's look is striking, he sounds like a professional announcer, and his rap is thoroughly rehearsed. And as with the Gortners, his entire family is in on the act. The whole show turns on his ability to rev up the congregation members into a frenzy of Jesus-related excitement, the better to loosen their pocketbooks. I'm not accusing Schott of bilking his congregants; for all I know the money Schott's raising for his All Nations Christian Center is being used to build his ministry, feed the hungry, house the homeless, care for the sick. We called and faxed Schott to ask how the money he's raising is being spent and got a curt "no comment" from his assistant.

The showbiz trappings of All Nations Christian Center are just a backdrop--if the preacher can't deliver the goods, the white buckets come back empty, and the King Cat Theater loses another tenant. As the Sunday-morning service winds to a close, the audience is relatively small, but it's buying it, which means that this "inner-city church" just might be on its way to glory--or at least television.

Beginning in the early 1980s, the tent-revival industry was itself revived by the advent of satellite TV and cable channels like the Trinity Broadcasting Network, which beams the word of God directly into your living room. Mixing equal parts faith and vaudeville, All Nations Christian Center looks a lot like the ministries you see on television. Should the numbers continue to grow, perhaps one day you'll turn on TBN and come across the tightest party in town, a little slice of the Bible belt in the Northwest. In the meantime, in case you're not prepared to wait, Jodiann has just announced that a tape of today's service is already available for pre-order in the foyer for only $10.

See you in church.